Herbs for Growing in the Herb Garden

POT MARIGOLD (Calendula officinalis)

This is the common showy garden marigold, the petals of which add a piquant flavouring to soups. It is extremely useful in the ornamental herb garden, and, well placed, can add a very desirable touch of colour. Seeds are sown in the ordinary way and thinned to about 1 ft. apart. If required in the kitchen, flowers can be picked and dried, and then stored for use as required. For the Herb Garden.

POT MARJORAM (Origannumoiles)

Usually grown from seeds sown under glass in March and planted out 1 ft. apart each way or sown direct in the open during April. It is cut down at the end of the season and hung in bunches in a dry shed for winter use.

PUMPKINS (Cucurbita pepo)

These are most frequently cultivated to-day for their decorative value, although they are appreciated as a vegetable by some.

Seeds are sown under glass in May in a temperature of 60°. Seedlings are potted singly and grown on to be ready for planting out the first week in June. Beyond planting in well-dug and manured soil, and keeping them well supplied with water, no further cultivation is required.

The large-fruited Gourds (C. maxima) and Pumpkins (C. fiepo) can be planted 6 ft. apart and the others 4 ft. apart. The smaller fruiting kinds are sometimes grown over pergolas. All varieties need some form of support, but they are very frequently grown to cover some unsiglitly corner or to smother trellis and poles.

RADISHES (Raphamis sativus)

Radishes are one of the most popular of salad crops. They can be grown outdoors all through the warm weather, and under glass in winter and spring. They are particularly suitable for cultivation on the hotbed, in about 6 in. of soil over the manure. Small sowings of radishes should be made every ten days throughout the season, to keep up a regular supply. In the open garden they are usually sown broadcast, but can be sown in rows between other crops.

The secret of cultivation is to keep them well supplied with moisture so that the growth is regular, and the plants do not receive any check. If they are set back by cold or lack of rain, the flower stems will develop instead of the roots becoming tender and succulent. Radishes grown during the hottest weather should be sown between taller crops so that they are sheltered from the sun, or in a position on a north or north-east border.

Winter Radishes, such as “Black Spanish,” are sometimes grown, lifted, and stored in sand in a cool place in much the same way as are carrots. Radishes for use immediately they are harvested are “New Icicle,” “Early Rose,” “French Breakfast.”

RHUBARB (Rheum rhaponlicum)

This crop is usually grown in the vegetable garden and can occupy any odd corner. This does not mean that it does not require good soil, but that as the plants remain year after year without moving, they are best grown in some part of the plot away from the ordinary annual vegetable crops.

The best time to plant is in February or March, but the soil should be prepared the previous autumn, being trenched to about 1 yd. Deep, and given a thorough dressing with farmyard manure, worked in from 1-2 ft. below the surface. Single crowns are planted 4 ft. apart each way. They are just covered with soil and then mulched with horse droppings. When active growth has begun the manure should be forked in.

No stems should be pulled until the second season after planting, but from then onwards the stems can be gathered early in the season each year. It is a mistake to gather rhubarb too late into the season, as it weakens the plants and makes them useless for subsequent years.

Rhubarb forces easily for early spring use. Two methods are available for the amateur gardener. One is to lift the crowns in December or January and pack them into boxes of moist soil, which can stand under the greenhouse shelves, or in any frost-proof shed. The soil is kept just moist, and the stems which grow, though they are thinner and earlier than the main crop stems, are more delicate in flavour and very often preferred to outdoor-grown rhubarb.

The other method is to invert over the plants wooden boxes, tubs or other coverings, and at the same time to pile over the crowns and round the edges of the boxes some old, decayed manure. It is best to remove the manure or fork it in as soon as the weather is warmer, otherwise the plants tend to become weak.

Rhubarb crowns that have been lifted for forcing are no further use another season, but plants that have remained in the open, and been forced a little by the inversion of boxes over them, will recover their hardiness and be satisfactory in succeeding years.


Rhubarb is increased as a rule by division of the crowns. Each separate crown should be pulled off and replanted in spring. Increase by seeds is also possible, though seedlings vary in quality and must be selected judiciously if good rhubarb crowns are to be obtained. The seeds are sown in drills in April, and the seedlings planted out in permanent beds the spring following. Good varieties of rhubarb are: “Dawe’s Champion” and “Red Champagne.”

ROSEMARY (Rosmarinus officinalis)

A fragrant shrub suitable for any part of the garden, but particularly for the herb garden. It will succeed in any soil but prefers a sunny, well-drained position. It can be raised from seeds sown in shallow drills and thinned out to about 6 in. apart, and planted out in spring or autumn into permanent quarters. It can also be raised from cuttings, either in autumn or summer, inserted in a shady border and kept moist. For the Herb Garden.

SAGE (Salvia officinalis)

This is raised from seeds, or may be increased by cuttings as described for rosemary. Cuttings are probably better than seeds, as plants of the best type will be certain. If required for winter use it can be cut and hung in bunches in a cool, dry shed.

In the ornamental herb garden it is advisable to let some, if not all, of the sage plants flower, as the flower spikes are very decorative. For the Herb Garden.

SALSIFY (Tragopogon porrifolium)

This is far more frequently used on the continent than in England, but it is worthy of more attention from the amateur gardener. It is grown exactly like parsnips or carrots and prefers rich, light soil. If it is sown on heavy ground, holes must be bored about 2 ft. deep with a crow-bar and filled with prepared, sifted soil.

Seeds are sown in April and thinned out to one plant every 12 or in. The crop is ready for lifting in November, when it can be stored in sand or ashes as in the case of other root crops.

If required for exhibition, Salsify should be lifted carefully and washed very clean. The small rootlets should be cut off. The roots selected should be perfectly straight and uniform. If a few roots of Salsify are left in the ground in winter, they will produce “chards” in the spring, that is, young flower stems, cut and used in much the same way as Asparagus.


SCORZONERA (Scorzonera hispanica)

Scorzonera is another vegetable which is seldom grown and used in this country. It is cultivated exactly like Salsify except that the seed is not usually sown until early May. The roots are ready for Ufting in September or October. They can, however, be covered with light litter and left in the ground until required for use.

For exhibition, the method of boring holes in the ground as advised for Carrots, Parsnips, Salsify, etc., should be adopted.

SEAKALE (Crambe maritima)

This vegetable is grown, forced, and blanched before use on the table. It can be raised either from seed or by rooted cuttings, but the root cuttings are best, as seedlings are of less certain quality. When the crop is lifted in autumn for forcing, pieces of the root are made into cuttings and each will produce a crown fit for forcing the following year.

The plants are best obtained in March and set out at a distance of in. apart each way. They are put in with a dibber. If several shoots develop from one root, all are removed except the strongest. After that, the only attention during the summer is to hoe frequently and to give light applications of artificial manure or frequent drenchings of water followed by liquid manure. At the end of October or after the first hard frost, the foliage is taken off the crop, lifted, trimmed, and stored away in ashes or sand. The fleshy roots are cut off close to the main stem, then cut into 6-in. Lengths, tied in small bundles, put into boxes 6 in. deep, covered with soil and stored cool. A very little heat and moisture given in the early part of the year, that is, about February, will start these cuttings into growth so that they will be fit for planting in spring.

Permanent Beds

Plants prepared from cuttings made in the previous autumn are planted in permanent beds which have been deeply trenched, allowing 4 ft. between the rows and 2| ft. between each plant in the rows. Plant firmly and keep the hoe going between the plants. About the middle of November forcing begins. If the plants are forced in the open, the ground is cleared of all leaves and rubbish, ashes are piled over the crowns and a Seakale pot inverted over each group of crowns. Leaves piled up firmly over the pots will create a temperature of 50-55°.

Another method which can be practised later in the season is to pile up the soil over the crowns in ridges. As soon as the ridge of soil cracks at the top, it is a sign that the shoots have developed, and the crop is ready for cutting. After the crowns have been cut the soil should be

THYME (Thymus vulgaris and Thymus serpyllum citriodora)

The common thyme and the lemon thyme are both useful herbs in the kitchen. Both can be raised from seed, but the easiest way to increase the stock is by division of the roots during March or April.

Both appreciate light soil and are excellent plants for cultivation in the rock garden if a special herb garden is not made.

They are very fragrant, and can usually be gathered fresh for use at any season of the year, though it is also advisable to dry some stems to be sure of having enough leaves for winter use.

SPINACH, NEW ZEALAND (Telragonia expansa)

This is often grown as a substitute for the common Spinach. It can be sown under glass in boxes and pricked off in the same way as Cabbages and later transferred to the open garden about the end of May. Or it can be sown direct in the open, in shallow drills 2 ft. apart, at the end of April. Seedlings should be about 1 ft. apart in the rows and at least 2 ft. must be allowed between each row. No special cultivation is required for this. The parts eaten are the leaves and the young shoots.


This is actually a variety of Beetroot, but in this case the leaves are used for the table. Seeds are sown in March and the seedlings thinned to about 6 in. apart. The plant is a perennial, and the leaves are cut as required at any season.

SUMMER SAVORY (Satureia hortensis)

This is easily raised from seed sown in spring in shallow drills and thinned to 1 ft. apart each way. Winter Savory (Saiureia mintana) is a perennial plant. It is treated as a rule in the same way as Summer Savory and raised fresh each season. For the Herb Garden.

SWEET BASIL (Ocimum basilicum)

This is raised from seed sown early in April under glass, pricked out 2 in. apart each way, and finally planted out at the end of May 9 in. apart. At the end of summer the plants are pulled up by the roots, and tied in bunches for use when required for flavouring. For the Herb Garden.

SWEET MARJORAM (Origanum marjorana)

Treated as a half-hardy annual, sown under glass in February, and transplanted 9 in. apart each way, or sown in April in the open garden. Leaves can be used, or the stems can be cut and hung in bunches for winter use. For the Herb Garden.

TARRAGON (Artemisia dracwiculus)

A plant of the same family as Southern wood or Old Man. It is a perennial which should be divided in early spring each year, portions being replanted 1 ft. apart each way. It can also be increased by cuttings. Stems can be cut and tied in bunches for winter use.

THYME (Thymus vulgaris and Thymus serpyllum citriodora)

The common thyme and the lemon thyme are both useful herbs in the kitchen. Both can be raised from seed, but the easiest way to increase the stock is by division of the roots during March or April.

Both appreciate light soil and are excellent plants for cultivation in the rock garden if a special herb garden is not made.

They are very fragrant, and can usually be gathered fresh for use at any season of the year, though it is also advisable to dry some stems to be sure of having enough leaves for winter use.

03. September 2013 by admin
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